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The Snooze Button

Updated on December 2, 2016

The Snooze Button

You want to wake up early in the morning and get ready for an important meeting. So you set your alarm clock to wake you up. The day dawns... your alarm goes off and you lean over and press the "snooze" button to steal a few extra moments of sleep.

Every morning, in millions of homes, this ritual is played out all around the world.

Photo by Serdar Burak

The Need

Has anyone ever thought about the reasons behind the creation of the snooze button? Its inventor?

Maybe he desperately need a few more minutes of sleep. The only way to do it safely and not wake up half an hour too late for his bus is to reset the alarm.

This wastes precious sleeping time. It's time consuming. And ones mind may not be up to the task of doing it without a guarantee of making an unfortunate mistake.

Hitting a snooze button is not only a safe, but a reliable way to snatch an extra 9 minutes of uninterupted slumber.

The Reason

Now you might ask me "whats the deal with the 9 minutes?". I too was wondering about this and I turned to an exhaustive search of the internet to find the answer. Here's what was found...

"Engineers believe that their bosses came to check on them every 10 minutes and so they wanted to be warned just before "

"Five minutes seems too short and ten minutes seems too long"

"Maybe his clock did not work properly and woke him up at 9 minutes instead of ten"

The Science

The most convincing reply was that there are 5 stages in our sleeping process and it takes time to reach the 5th stage through the other stages.

This 5th stage is called the REM stage or the Rapid Eye Movement stage during which we get all those dreams of ours and its during this time do we sleep very sound.

The REMs range from a time gap of around 1 to 5 minutes to around one hour and during these stages our eyes are constantly moving. We undergo this process over and over many times and it takes considerable time to reach the final REM. So the snooze was created to break the chain of REMs during its very first appearance.

The Man

Now while we found little discussion online about the snooze button, we found even less about it's inventor: Lew Wallace.

The name may be familiar to film students and movie buffs.

Lew Wallace is the author of the book Ben Hur. An epic Hollywood blockbuster that still holds its own even today, even becoming a part of the English vernacular with the term "Bigger than Ben Hur". Lew Wallace is believed to have been the same person who invented the snooze button.


Ween yourself off the snooze button with Clocky!

Snooze Addicts get one snooze and the next time the alarm rings Clocky runs off your nightstand (he can take 3 foot jumps with ease) and and wheels around your room looking for a place to hide. You will have to get out of bed to stop the alarm.

Let Clocky be your Drill Sergeant!

The Case Against

While the use of the snooze button is widespread, even addictive, there are many medical reviews against the sleeping habit created by using a snooze.

They say, "you tend to have a very disturbed sleep and even in those 9 minutes of extra sleep, you do not gain much as the mind is sub consciously waiting to stop the sound of tha alarm".

They also say that its better to have a regular sleep and awake timings and this would help our body get accustomed with practice.

The recent technology news for snooze users is that MIT's media lab has created a new snooze clock which, when a sleeper presses the snooze, the clock retracts into hiding and thus making the sleeper wake up and look for the clock to stop the next alarm.

How many times do you hit the snooze button?

See results


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